Bulgarian police plan to hold a national protest in Sofia on November 8, a continuation of the series of protests that have caused major disruption in the capital and other cities over cutbacks to their perks – even after the government said that it was scaling back the cuts.
Police participating in the protests have told reporters that they are not worried by government threats of disciplinary action against them.
On social networks and in media reports, Bulgarian public reaction the protests by police – who have been supported by firefighters and prisons guards – has been adverse, with acerbic comments about the financial privileges given to police.
Throughout November 4, police staged blockades of traffic in various parts of the country. On November 5, a protest is planned to be held at Eagle Bridge (Orlov Most) in Sofia, an important traffic junction in the capital city.
Eagle Bridge was also the scene of a protest on November 4, with police blocking the intersection for about two hours. The same night, a counter-protest was held next to nearby Ariana Lake in Borissova Gradina, organised on Facebook with the title “Quality not quantity in the Interior Ministry”.
On the morning of November 4, a meeting between Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, Interior Minister Roumyana Buchvarova and Finance Vladislav Goranov, also attended by the Interior Ministry chief secretary Georgi Kostov, resulted in a scaling back of cuts to the financial packages of police that Goranov had planned for the 2016 national Budget.
Kostov told reporters after the meeting that a plan to reduce severance pay from 20 to 10 monthly salaries would apply only to those who joined the ministry as employees from now on, not to existing employees.
Plans are for annual leave of Interior Ministry employees to be reduced from 30 to 20 days, with a reduction in holiday allowances. Seniority pay for existing employees will be incorporated into their salaries and the system will not apply to new employees.
He said that Borissov had asked him to convey to Interior Ministry employees that those who acted unlawfully in disrupting traffic and holding rallies would face administrative disciplinary action.